Pet loss is always hard, I should know, I have owned many cats over the years and the pain I have felt on their passing has never got easier.
Some of my cats have died naturally either in the garden or at home, whilst others have had to be euthanized to spare their suffering. Those were always horrible decisions to have to make.
But knowing that I always did my best to give my beloved cats a full and happy life, and remembering the love they gave back to me, has given me great comfort during those sad times.
In these pages I hope to be able to provide you with some helpful tips on preparing for your cats final days and of coping with your feelings of grief.
The usual lifespan of a cat is about 15 years, although many well looked after pet cats can live as long as 20 years.
Signs of old age start to appear between the ages of 10 and 12, they may slight at first and hardly noticable. You may begin to notice that they become a little stiffer in the joints and become less and less active, much preferring the comfort of their cushion to the rough and tumble of life outdoors.
Near the end, as your cat's health deteriorates, they may begin to lose control over their bodily functions.
Moving about, grooming, eating and going to the toilet can all become harder for the animal and sometimes this can become distressing for both you and your cat.
Sometimes (and especially if the poor animal is in pain or distress and nothing further can be done for them) then the kindest answer can be Euthanasia.
Find out more about making this painful decision on my Pet Euthanasia pages.
I know how hard it can be to come to terms with the loss of a loved pet. If you are looking for more words of comfort and help to get through this terrible time then I can recommend this book Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet.
It is available in book form or as a Kindle download.
Your cat has been a member of your family for many years and a strong bond has built up between you.
So when the loss of a pet occurs, it is completely natural to experience feelings of grief and to go through a period of mourning, just the same as you would if a close friend or relative had died.
You may even have strong emotions of depression, guilt, anger and loneliness, but this is all part of the grieving process.
There is support available to help you through this period of pet loss and there are a few things you can do to help yourself at this time.
They are discussed further on my Coping With Cat Loss pages.
This is our cats grave in our garden.
It is entirely up to you how you wish to dispose of your cat's remains. However one suggestion I do have is that you should think about this question in advance.
I have known people who were not prepared for this question and made a quick decision which they later regretted. In fact I have some regrets that I did not bring one of my cats home for a garden burial.
There are many options available, from a burial in a pet cemetery or a cremation, to a simple burial at home. There are also many companies who can provide various levels of service from a very simple pet memorial to an elaborate funeral service.
It is entirely up to you how you feel you want to commemorate your loss of a pet. There is no right or wrong way!
I have a page about some of the choices and whether to choose Cat Burial or Cremation.
It can be important to have a lasting reminder of the love you felt for your feline companion and this is where a personalized cat memorial can help.
I made one for myself to remember my beloved Little Mo ('Mouse') and it sits on a shelf next to her photograph.
Sometimes simply reading words of sympathy and hope can really help after suffering the pain of pet loss.
If you need to read some words of comfort at this time, please visit our Rainbow Bridge Pages.
You can also commemorate your special cat friend on our free online pet memorial quilt by sending me their photo and a few details.
This virtual quilt will grow and grow and will be a lasting place for your cat to be remembered. You will also be reminded that you are far from alone in your grief and that other people do understand how you feel. Click Here for our Memorial Quilt Page
If you have more than one pet in the household it is likely that they will also have a sense of loss if a companion pet has passed away. Cat grief can be a very real occurrence.
Of course their understanding of what has happened is limited and so it is important that we make time for them during our own grieving process and take care that they too do not suffer too much themselves.
To understand more about how to spot signs that your cat is grieving for the loss of another pet and also how you can help them through it, I have a page about Cat Grief to provide some guidance. Hope you find it helpful.
Here's some related pages you might be interested in..